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Princes Park, Hobart

Lightroom 6, what did I just pay for?

I’m a big fan of Adobe Lightroom, it’s a great way to catalog your photos, and I’ve been using it for quite a few years now, and it’s now my primary editing environment.

So Adobe have recently released version 6, admittedly I handed over my money and upgraded without actually checking what benefits I would be getting other than now being supported for the v6.x product cycle. After using version 6 for a few days I’m still scratching my head wondering what extras or enhancements I have gotten for my money.

Sure it has HDR and Panorama now inbuilt, and they seem to work quite well, but if you have Photoshop they are not really required and they are included in 5.7.1 Build 991162 (According to Adobe). Performance increase? Umm OK, if you say so. It’s hard to notice any performance difference on a late model PC with lots of RAM and an SSD. The only enhancement I may possibly use is the brush tool in conjunction with the graduated filtering (which was possible in the older version). It may have other new features like face recognition and advanced slide shows but I don’t think they are going to appeal to many photographers, especially those who specialize in landscapes or shoot more than their family and friends.

Did I mention that 5.7.1 Build 991162 has these new features? So I’m still wondering what did I just pay for?

I can’t help but feel a little bit ripped off especially when features that everyone wants and are crying out for (and 3rd parties are making money from) are still missing, such as the ability to find and delete duplicates within the catalog.

If you have a late model PC and Photoshop then you my want to just update to 5.7.1 rather than paying the $100 upgrade to 6. At this stage, in my opinion there is very little benefit to move. Save your money at least for the time being.

If you have an older system (but still 64 Bit) and/or no Photoshop then it may be worth the upgrade to give you a little more speed or the added benefit of HDR imaging and Panorama merging (5.7.1 Build 991162+ also has these features), if that’s of interest to you, particularly if you are coming for Light room 4.X

I don’t use Creative Cloud (CC), but if you get a free upgrade from 5 to 6 as part of your subscription then bonus 🙂

***UPDATE***

I have updated 5.7 to 5.7.1 and I can not see the HDR or merging features, even though Adobe advertised them as new features in 5.7.1….. It could be a CC only option, if anyhow has a CC subscription and HDR/Merge works, please let me know.

BPD_0807

D750 Update.

I’ve been using the D750 for about 4 months now, so it’s time for an update.

I’m now very used to the controls and can quickly change ISO, exposure compensation and other additional functions with ease, I do however find that the D750 is not as ergonomically nice at the Canon bodies, primarily because I have big hands and use a single handgrip strap, which makes moving the rear thumb dial particularly quite tricky at times. Aside from this small issue it has been a joy to use.

During the last 4 months I have also had time to go out and do a fair bit of shooting in low light, and I can confirm that the sensor performs as well as it did during my testing and the level of noise (or lack there of) out of the camera is outstanding, I also find that the noise that is produced is a much nicer looking noise than that of the Canon 5Dm3 or 6D. The noise is so low that Lightroom applies no Luminance NR at all by default.

Here are some samples for you to enjoy, please note that some NR has been applied in Lightroom to suit the style of the shot. It’s worth noting the shots 3 and 4 as they have been shot with the highest ISO and had the least NR applied.

3200 ISO, 51 Sec. (LR Lum NR 50).

BPD_1008

6400 ISO, 30 Sec (LR Lum NR 25)

BPD_0807

ISO 12800, 28 Sec, (LR Lum NR 15)BPD_1083

ISO 12800, 30sec (LR Lum NR 20)

BPD_1220

BPD_0111

The move…. to Nikon….

D750
D750, ‘Stacks of DR’

A few years ago when I had a Canon 5D mark II, Nikon’s current go to model was the D800; it was the bees knees and I considered making the move. After some testing and comparisons I determined that the D800 still did not have enough to lure me away from Canon, and consequently I purchased a 6D. Primarily because it out performed the 5D mark III in low light, which I still consider to be significantly over priced for what you are getting.

 

Fast forward Dec 2014. I’ve been sensor testing for quite a while now, watching all the new models arrive, the new Sony A7, the A7R, the Nikon Df, the D4, and most recently the D750. The D750, touted to be successor to the D700 had a lot to live up to, and since I had used a D700 on a number of occasions in the past and being suitably impressed I was keen to see how it performed.

 

The D750 blew every other model out of the water for long exposures I had tested. From ISO 3200 the detail that could be pulled from out of the shadows was nothing short of outstanding.

 

“Could I have finally found a replacement for my 6D?”

 

I’d been patiently waiting for any sign from Canon that a new affordable model was in the works. All the banter at the usual suspects indicated that a new model would likely be a high mega pixel body, and any replacement for the 6D or 5D was a long way off, and most likely expensive for the latter.

 

D750, 'Shadow Pool'
D750, ‘Shadow Pull’

So after some extensive research, I jumped, and this time I can safely say all of my previous concerns have been addressed. Using the D750 so far does feel like a true D700 upgrade, Combined with a good prime (20mm f1.8) it takes truly outstanding shots. (Maybe I’m getting better to).

 

So far I have only ‘tested’ it for night work, as I’m still waiting on the right conditions for an Aurora (Australis), but based on the samples I have produced so far I have a strong feeling some fantastic shots will come out the other end of my normal workflow. I’m a firm believer in ‘Garbage in, Garbage out’ (GIGO), and although the 6D was not garbage, the D750 will have less issues to deal with going into my workflow, allowing me to push images harder to recover more detail without having to deal with a lot of noise.

And of course… the more to the dark sid…err Nikon was not too bad because ‘they have got cookies’ 🙂

_MG_8127-Edit

Night Photography, Better Body or Faster Glass?

IMG_8214I’m starting to rethink the idea of fast glass over body for night photography as the ‘priority’, let me explain.

In general terms we say get the best fast glass you can and don’t worry too much about the body, update that later. I think for night photography its possibly the opposite or neutral. Maybe get a good body first, then faster glass later.

Why? Well I’ve been testing a lot of sensors recently for noise, particularly for long exposure noise and it’s fairly easy to see that the cheaper crop bodies do not stack up against the full frame cameras very well at all, at least if you exposing for minutes at a time.

Based on my testing I can’t see a one stop advantage from F4 to F2.8 in glass out weighing the performance gain going from a crop to a full frame body. I have no doubt that a D610 with an F4 lens is going to perform better than a D7100 and a f2.8 or even f1.4 lens.

Of course in the long run faster glass means lower ISO and shorter exposures which for Aurora shooting is important to capture those beams. Just don’t rule out a body upgrade before a glass upgrade. If you have an older crop body camera I don’t think you can expect faster glass to solve all your problems. Consider your upgrade carefully. 🙂

In the long run the ideal is a good body and fast lens, which does not always need to be expensive, considering you really only need a manual lens for night work.